Ordering framing of charges against three accused in two 2020 rioting cases, a Delhi court has termed “fallacious” the police’s stand to prosecute a total of 19 additional complaints in both cases.
The court which framed various charges, including rioting, mischief by fire and house trespass, against the accused observed that the additional complaints were not completely investigated and the investigating officer (IO) simply relied upon “hearsay evidence” to club the complaints.
Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala was hearing two separate cases against Javed, Gulfam and Mustakeem who were accused of being a part of the riotous mob that was involved in incidents of vandalism, looting and arson on February 25, 2020, at different commercial establishments under Dayalpur police station limits.
Initially, 17 complaints and 22 complaints were clubbed with the main FIR in the first case and the second case respectively but while lodging the third supplementary charge sheets in both cases, police filed two applications seeking the return of the complaints, stating they would be investigated separately. The court in August allowed both applications.
While filing the last supplementary charge sheets, the IO informed the court that the first case was to be prosecuted in respect of 11 separate complaints and the second case was to be prosecuted in respect of eight additional complaints.
A total of 19 complaints were thus again clubbed with the two main FIRs.
Passing a common order in both cases, ASJ Pramachala said, “I find that there is no evidence on the record to even confirm the time and date of the incidents at the respective places of the respective additional complainants.”
“I also find that the star witnesses of the prosecution for identification of accused persons did not say anything about witnessing the incident reported by additional complainants. Thus, the stand of the prosecution to prosecute all the aforesaid additional complaints with the FIR lodged in this case is found to be fallacious,” he added.
The court said that the additional complaints were not completely investigated to even confirm the date and time of such incidents and the IO simply relied upon the hearsay evidence of the additional complainants to club the complaints.
“In my opinion conclusion on the investigation of the additional complaints are incomplete and they could not be clubbed for prosecution in this FIR and these additional complaints do require further and thorough investigation,” the judge said.
He then directed the Station House Officer (SHO) concerned to take up the additional complaints for further investigation separately.
The court, however, said that on the basis of the statements of two main complainants Aftab and Zameer Ahmed, it was proved that their shops were vandalised by a riotous mob, which included the three accused.
It then ordered framing charges against the trio for various Indian Penal Code (IPC) offences including rioting, armed with a deadly weapon, theft, mischief by fire or explosive substance, house trespass, unlawful assembly and disobedience to an order duly promulgated by a public servant.
The court, however, discharged the accused of the offence under IPC section 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc).